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the present character and privileges, and the future prospects of the sons of God.
And now let us notice how pertinent and striking is the metaphor contained in our text, which represents God as a Father, and believers as his children. -Truly he is their Father, in a sense the most endearing and affecting. He rescues them from the family and service of Satan; he transforms them into his own image, and makes them partakers of his own Divine nature ; he and his Son enter into a most intimate communion with them; he adopts them into the household of the saints, his chosen family; his Spirit beareth witness with their spirits that they are indeed his children; he takes them under his peculiar guidance and direction; he gives them the temper of full reliance on his parental goodness: he is their support through life ; their death is precious in his sight; and he at last leads them to their eternal home, making them joint-heirs with Christ of that "inheritance which is incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away.”
Surely these are exalted privileges to be conferred upon beings that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, who are crushed before the moth!
But how is our wonder enhanced, and how ought our deepest gratitude to be awakened, when we consider them as bestowed on beings who are sinners; who, like the Prodigal in the parable, have wandered far from their Father's house, have fastened their affections upon the low pleasures of the
world, have lost all claim to the title of sons, and have forfeited by their rebellion the protection and friendship of God! That he should offer to such beings the high destiny of becoming his sons is an illustrious and affecting proof, that he is a God ready to pardon, slow to anger, and of great kind
Oh! be touched with this, thou who art still a stranger from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world! Now imitate the penitent Prodigal ; feel all his deep compunction and ingenuous sorrow; and, in the spirit of sincere and hearty tepentance, say, " I will arise, and go to my Father, and say unto him, Father, I have sinned against Heaven and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.” And be assured, if thou thus return with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, humbled under a sense of guilt, and reposing all thy hopes of parlon on the mercy of God, through Jesus Christ, thou shalt be met with forgiveness and reconciliation ; thou shalt be invested with the Divine love and favour ; thou shalt become truly a Son of God, and be made a partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light.
JOHN xiv. 1.
Let not your heart be troubled : ye believe in God,
believe also in me.
From these words I propose, my brethren, at this time to direct your thoughts to Jesus," the Consolation of Israel;" and what an object of delightful vision to the eye of faith is Jesus Christ! In him dwells all that is admirable in excellence, and attractive in loveliness : for he is the “ brightness of the Father's glory, and the express image of his person.” They who saw him while on earth,“ beheld bis glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” They who shall see him in heaven, will-behold him clothed in ineffable splendor," seated on the right hand of the Majesty on high, swaying the sceptre of universal empire, victorious over all his enemies, and dispensing to his friends an immortality of life and peace and joy. But we, my brethren, who yet "see through a glass darkly," can only behold him as delineated by the pencil of sacred history. The Evangelists have given us, his portrait. Though
faint, it is faithful : and the more minutely we examine the lineaments of our blessed Master, the more shall we have to admire in them the beautiful symmetry and grace of perfect moral excellence, and the constant beaming forth of that Divine lustre which irradiated him in whom " dwelt bodily all the fulness of the Godhead.” And if, while we thus admire, we also believe and trust and love, then shall “ we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, be changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” Then shall we be entitled to the animating benediction of our Saviour, “ Blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed.”— Thus to assimilate you to Jesus Christ, and thus to revive and enliven your confidence in his promises, I propose, iny brethren, to direct your attention to a very interesting scene of his life, which took place on the night immediately preceding his crucifixion. For several nights previous he had made the mount of Olives, and especially the village of Bethany, which was situated at its foot about two miles east of Jerusalem, his occasional retreat from the daily toils and dangers of his ministry in the city. It was there that he supped with his friend Lazarus, while Martha served, and Mary anointed his feet with spikenard' “ against the day of his burying.” It was there that Satan entered into the heart of Judas, and led him to form, and soon to execute, the diabolical purpose of betraying his Lord. It was there that our Saviour disclosed to his disciples the
immediate prospect of his sufferings and death. It was thence that he sent Peter and John to Jerusalem to make ready the last passover which he would commemorate with his beloved flock. They obeyed his directions, and prepared the feast in a large upper chamber, which had been furnished for this purpose. In this room, retired from the gaze of the multitude, and secure for a short season from their violence, our Saviour engaged with his little band of followers in a solemn and devout act of social worship. They partook of the Paschal Supper in strict obedience to the Jewish law, for thus it behoved them to fulfil all righteousness. Here Jesus taught his disciples the sweet grace of humility, by checking their ambitious contest for superiority, and still more forcibly by condescending himself to wash their feet. Here, with much emotion, he predicted the treachery of Judas. Here he exhorted his disciples to mutual love. Here he foretold the fall of Peter. Here he instituted that symbolical rite of his religion which we still celebrate in grateful remembrance of its Founder, and which “ shews forth his death until he come.” Here, and on his way to the garden of Gethsemane, whither he soon resorted with his disciples, he consoled them with many “great and precious promises,” under the dismaying prospect of soon losing their beloved Lord and Master. At the same time, (that is, soon after leaving Jerusalem, and probably near the Mount of Olives.)" he lifted up his eyes to heaven" and prayed, with all the ardour of paternal affection,